Profits fall at listed-steel group

Listed steel group, Billington Holdings has revealed a drop in profit by over 77 per cent in its unaudited results for the first half of 2020 to 30 June.

The Wombwell-based business saw revenue drop by 30.5 per cent to £32.78m in the period making a profit before tax of £610,000, a drop of more than £2m compared to the same period last year – which saw the business post a record performance. Despite this the business believes its “outlook is encouraging”.

As with many business the first of the year was dominated by Covid-19 with the firm stating that although it has tried throughout the pandemic it has experienced “varying levels of delays, postponements and associated pricing pressures”.

It is these delays and the competition of two significant projects in the previous period that has resulted in the drop in revenue.

Despite this drop the business, which has remained profitable, believes it is well placed for the future, with strong order books in the majority of the Group’s businesses. In fact since the new period started the firm has been awarded three contracts worth a combined value of £21m which will be delivered in quarter four of this year and throughout 2021.

However looking further ahead the business warns that its market remains constrained with many construction contractors under significant pressure. It is also preparing for “whatever the nature of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU” is by ensuring products are dual certified with both an EU derived CE mark as well as a UK and looking at its distribution.

Mark Smith, chief executive officer of Billington, commented: “Following an exceptional 2019, the first half of the year has been dominated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the construction sector and the consequential restrictions on site access, project delays and cancellations.

“We have seen a significant impact on our first half revenue, however with all Group operations having now returned to near full capacity and with the majority of projects having restarted, we look forward to the remainder of the year with cautious optimism. We anticipate improved Group financial performance in the second half of the year, before hopefully moving to more normal trading conditions in 2021 assuming the economy stabilises and commences its recovery from the pandemic.

“We remain in a financially robust position and well placed for the future. The 2021 order book continues to grow, comprising of both delayed and new projects. There are a number of larger projects in prospect and the number and quality of enquires is at near historic levels. We are seeing opportunities in all sectors, particularly large retail distribution warehouses, data centres, food processing developments, public sector works and rail infrastructure. It is encouraging that the more robust developers are also continuing with commercial office development projects where significant pre-lets can be secured.”